30 January 2011
Marseille is located in the south of France, right on the Mediterranean Sea. The coast is known as the Côte d'Azur, the blue coast, and people come here to enjoy the warm and pleasant summers and year-round pleasant temperatures. The coast is dotted with famous sea resorts like Cannes, Saint-Tropez, Nice, Monaco, and numerous others. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to prepare for winter. The buildings have only very perfunctory heating, cars have summer tires, and I am told that the city does not own a snowplow. That's ok because it never gets cold here.
Except when it does. Last week it snowed. In Marseille, the snow barely reached the ground and ended up as an a little ice on the cars. But the inland villages and hills found themselves covered in snow, which quickly formed a solid ice sheet on the roads that stayed on the ground for days.
Traffic immediately became a swirling chaos. Some of my colleagues called in to say they'd be working from home because there is no way to drive to work, as long as several centimeters of this strange slippery stuff is on the ground. My Canadian friends found this very funny.
These pictures were taken near Aubagne, some 20km east of Marseille: